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The Decision Factor offers insightful comments and observations on analytics—from views on new technology approaches and market dynamics to the latest industry trends driving demand for faster, smarter information analysis. This blog contains personal views, thoughts, and opinions from SAP employees, mentors, and friends working in the area of analytics. It’s not endorsed by SAP nor does it constitute an official communication of SAP.


Why You Shouldn’t Target the “Most Likely to Respond” Prospects

dart board with arrows

A few months ago, I was talking with a friend who happens to be one of the top executives in a large EMEA bank. He asked me a very intriguing question, “Why do you think my bank isn’t targeting the prospects who are the most likely to respond to my marketing campaign?” Despite scratching my head for few minutes, I didn’t come back with any reasonable answer.

After a while, he explained to me that in banking, the people who are the most likely to respond to promotions are either 1) planning to practice fraud or 2) …

Why Speed Matters to GRC

people moving quickly in a station

The Art of Speed: 2009

About five years ago, I was sitting beside a pool in Palm Springs while on a winter vacation when my phone rang. It was one of my credit card providers calling to tell me my credit card had been stolen. That’s right, they were telling me – not asking me.

They explained that over the previous four days, my card had been used at a college bookstore and a college pub, and several other places I had not ever frequented, even though I routinely traveled around the world on business. The expenditures were modest, probably …

Fraud Attacks Come From Unexpected Places – Can Predictive Analytics Help?

fraud and predictive

Recently, I had a chance to watch one of those old, French cult movies of the 60s from the recently deceased director Georges Lautner (an institution in France) entitled “Ne nous fâchons pas” (Let’s not get angry).

In one scene, the main male character seeks to engage in business with a rich (and wary) heiress. To gain her confidence, he tells her: “People always tend to see gangsters as stocky, dark-haired guys. It’s the silliest prejudice!” To which she answers, “And I have another one for you—they tend to think that a tall, blond woman is inevitably daft… Missed!”

Income Tax Fraud: the Axe Is Starting To Fall

Income Tax Fraud: the Axe Is Starting To Fall

According to European Commission estimates, EU countries lose more than €1 trillion a year to tax evasion and avoidance. In the U.S, unreported income costs the U.S. Treasury alone $250 billion or more a year in lost taxes, and the IRS estimated that 17% of Americans are fudging on their filings. With these alarming figures, it should come to no surprise this is becoming more and more of a priority topic in every Government’s agenda.

The reality today is that only a very small percentage of …

Has the Cost of Compliance Just Gone Up? SEC To Seek More Guilt Admissions

Has the Cost of Compliance Just Gone Up? SEC To Seek More Guilt Admissions

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has recently announced that it will require some defendants to choose between admitting to wrongdoing as a condition of settling securities fraud charges (thereby opening themselves up to potential civil litigation), or fighting the charges in court. Will the possibility of going to court or making an admission of guilt in out-of-court settlements require an adjustment to how organizations look at the cost of compliance?

The SEC is a civil enforcement agency whose settlement practices, up until now, had allowed a “no admit/no deny” settlement, closing the door to further civil litigation unless there …

What is Fraud Costing Your Organization?

What is Fraud Costing Your Organization?

How do you respond to fraud in your organization? Can you spot it ahead of time or as it’s happening? Or do you discover it after the fact, when it’s too late to do anything about it?

According to the ACFE’s Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud & Abuse, the typical organization loses 5% of its revenues to fraud each year. Applied to the estimated 2011 Gross World Product, this figure translates to a potential projected global fraud loss of more than $3.5 trillion. …

Are You Using the Technologies of 2010 to Run the Business of 2013 and Beyond?

Are you using the technologies of 2010 to run the business of 2013 and beyond?

Are you still using the same personal mobile phone and tablet in your personal life as you did just 3 years ago? Most are quick to adopt new technology and all its capabilities, such as the iPhone 4 or 5, iPad with Retina Display or the Samsung Galaxy.

But I am going to guess that most of you are using the same technology as you used in 2010 (if not much older) in your work life – whether a board member, executive, risk, or assurance professional.

Why is that?

Are you aware of how much technology has …

High-Speed Analytics — Will It End Fraud, Waste, and Honest Errors?

Credit card transaction

Several years ago, my son was living with us while he went back to school. Students are usually short of cash, so when my wife and I went on a small vacation, I gave him one of my credit cards for “emergencies.”

Three days later, sitting beside a pool in Palm Springs, my phone rang. My credit card company advised that my card had been stolen and was cancelled. It was used in a college book store and pub, and the total amount involved was less than $100.00. Apparently, my son had experienced some academic and nutritional emergencies in a …

Faster Information, But at What Cost?


There is a saying in India: Never let your feet run faster than your shoes, which my grandfather was fond of cautioning me with whenever my youthful plans got too ambitious to execute.

I’m reminded of that saying lately as I think about the demand for data acceleration.

Organizations must deal with ever-increasing volumes of transactions and information – often thousands of transactions a second, 24 hours a day.

Any time you have such a high volume, there is an inherent risk, especially in a more strictly regulated, …